Tale of a Tooth by Allie Rogers
|Tale of a Tooth by Allie Rogers|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Allie Rogers strikes gold again with a touching and unique portrait of life, growth and family. Beautifully written with a distinctive tone that will remain in the memory.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: April 2018|
|Publisher: Legend Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Danny lives in a small Sussex town with his mother, Natalie. Life is poor, but they manage - until they're threatened by a benefits sanction. A Job Centre employee looks to be their salvation - but her impact on the family goes far beyond what they first expect, and the resulting changes are described to the reader through the naive yet perceptive and wholly original eyes of four-year-old Danny.
I should start this review with a disclaimer - I usually hate books written in the voice of a child. Rather than engaging me in a story as they're intending to do, I find myself looking in on the events as an outsider - the voice never quite capturing how I felt as a child or how children I know speak. I fully appreciate it must be a tricky one to approach as a writer, but I tend to avoid books of that type like the plague.
However, I read Allie Rogers first book, [Little Gold by Allie Rogers|Little Gold]] a year ago, and fell in love with her portrayal of a friendship between a young girl and an elderly lady in 80's Brighton. Rogers' grasp of the titular Little Gold character was absolutely fantastic - Rogers' writing enabled the reader to form an easy bond with the young girl at the centre of the story, and, although I read an awful lot of books - Little Gold is one I remember extremely fondly, which is why I was keen to read Tale of A Tooth, narrative choices aside.
Happily - my fears were allayed, and Tale of a Tooth is a read that manages to be both wholly engaging and hugely enjoyable. The entire tale is told through the voice of four-year-old Danny but, unlike other stories that employ this narrative choice, it isn't annoying - instead providing an experience for the reader that's extremely immersive and remarkably immediate - I'm not quite sure how Rogers has captured the voice so accurately, but she has. Don't expect this to be a light story of childhood though, as Danny is put in some dark and disturbing positions as the book progresses. The book that deals with some contemporary issues in a strong and rather hard-hitting manner, and has a strongly-beating social heart. However, Rogers is gifted enough to never let the plot become 'issue-led', and instead allows her characters to guide the reader to such moments - making them all the more effective and emotional as a result. It builds to a climax that's shocking - and one that will stay with me for a long time.
A book about issues that isn't issue-led, and a book about childhood that isn't mawkish and emotional - Allie Rogers has, in Tale of a Tooth, created a tale that's original, powerful and long lasting. Danny's voice is readable, memorable, and may just have changed my mind about child narrators. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.
For further reading I recommend Little Gold - another beautiful tale of childhood, youth, and age.
You can read more book reviews or buy Tale of a Tooth by Allie Rogers at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Tale of a Tooth by Allie Rogers at Amazon.com.
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